March 24, 2006
La Media Borracha*
I am loving this yarn (Koigu) and this pattern (Denmark from Knitting on the Road) so much! I really hope my sock pal loves it too -- she didn't give any color preferences, but said that she loved cabled or lacy socks. When I picked out the colorway, I tried not to fall into the trap of picking the same colors I always pick for myself -- reds, pinks, oranges, browns. I think I succeeded! (I realize that the colorway looks very blue in the only other picture I posted, but it's not -- it's all shades of purples and periwinkles.)
When I went looking for an object around the house to include in a picture for scale, I ended up at our "bar". It's actually a child's dresser that was my dad's as a child, then mine. It's been painted and repainted several times, and does quite well as a bar. Anyway, the late afternoon light is good at the bar and Jason was already in the kitchen cooking Mexican food, soooo the sock posed with a bottle of tequila. Which I then grabbed and went into the kitchen to make margaritas.
Que rica vida!
*The Drunken Sock. Though much of the Spanish-speaking world uses the word calcetin for sock, in Quito it's almost exclusively media. One of those idiosyncratic things that marks me as somebody who learned Spanish in Quito. I love it.
March 22, 2006
The Hidden Side of Knitsmiths
What you don't see on the Knitsmiths blog...
...Lisa chomping on her cabling needle like cowboy chewing on a toothpick. When I told her she should learn to cable without a cabling needle, she replied, "but then I couldn't chew on this thing the whole time!"
...Alison! She takes pictures of everybody else at Knitsmiths -- this time the tables were turned. (She's knitting on that fantastic Synchronicity yarn she wrote about the other day and wearing her Weasley sweater!)
March 21, 2006
The Thrill of Victory
Let me get right to the point: I adore this sweater. I like it so much, in fact, that I have already worn it four times since I finished -- three times for dinner with friends and again to its Knitsmiths debut yesterday. It's comfortable, the fit is right, and the yarn is so soft. In terms of the way it feels, Samoa is the most like Calmer that I've encountered.
The pattern's been written for days now, and I've been trying to get it posted for about 48 hours straight. Yesterday, Jason's laptop ate it (note to self: Macs and Word documents originated on a PC do not play nicely together). Today, I finished recreating it and converting it to a PDF while at work... only to forget to grab my *($^*&% USB drive on my way out the door.
But I cannot contain my joy at the finished product that is this sweater, so I'm posting this entry now and will add the pattern tomorrow morning. [Update: It's up!] In the meantime, I managed to salvage the pattern notes from a previous version on my home computer-- they are in the extended entry if you'd like to read a little bit about the sweater and its construction.
- As many of you know, I knit loosely. Very, very loosely. I used 6s and 7s to knit this sweater, but I suspect many of you will end up using 7s and 8s.
- As I was knitting, I kept row-by-row notes. When I went back to write the pattern, I relied heavily on row counts to do it. As a result, you'll see that the sections (ribbing, armholes, etc.) includes row numbers from beginning to end. I kept them in the published pattern in the hope that they might be helpful in allowing you to make adjustments if your row gauge is different from mine.
- One of the things that I love best about the model sweater is its flattering fit and high ribbing. In particular I love that the ribbing does not "pull in" too much, which allows the line of the sweater to continue uninterrupted. In order to attain this look, I knit the ribbing in larger needles than the rest of the sweater. (Claudia describes another technique for achieving this look in her Mariah wrap-up entry, in the paragraph that starts "Mods".)
- This pattern is fairly easy. The only technically complex section is the short row shaping for the neck, and though I think it makes for a smoother neckline, I've provided alternative directions if you don't want to use short rows.
- Wanna help? This was my first ever attempt to write a pattern, and as soon as I finished my sweater I wanted to share it with the world. Unfortunately, that means it's only written in one size: mine. I would love to size this up and down, and I would doubly love some help with doing that! If you make adjustments for size, please let me know how it goes. Provided that you get the same gauge, if you send in your numbers when you're finished I'll add them to the pattern and give you credit for the help. Likewise, I am 100% certain there are errors in this pattern. If you find mistakes and/or have suggestions, please drop me a line!
March 20, 2006
March 16, 2006
Note: This was actually written on Wednesday (yesterday), but I encountered technical difficulties and couldn't publish until this morning!
This Wednesday, I'm wondering:
Is there such a thing as a too-stiff sock?
Pattern: Denmark from Knitting on the Road
Needles: US 2s
Pictured here are my Sockapaloooza socks (version 2.0) -- you'll notice that I've switched Koigu colorways since this entry -- and I'm quite pleased with the way the pattern and the colors are working together.
Now, a new worry: I had to make adjustments to accommodate my absurdly loose knitting, and now I fret they may be a bit stiff. (Notice, above, that the sock is standing without support!) Is this a problem? If I call a do-over and restart on bigger needles I'm almost certain it will be way too big -- it stretches out to fit nicely now when I slip it on. Any words of wisdom?
On this Wednesday, some of you might be wondering where the heck the promised Olympic wrap-up entry -- complete with pattern! -- is. Two things have been slowing me down: a maddening lack of sunlight this week for taking nice pictures and something we'll call "Hey! This pattern-writing thing is hard!" It's coming soon, I promise!
March 9, 2006
All the Socks Fit to Print
Thank you for your compliments and well-wishes yesterday! I'm happy to report that I am already much improved in the health department -- far less of that not-quite-a-sneeze-but-enough-to-make-your-eyes-water feeling, thank goodness. I'm looking forward to getting home and working on the official Olympic sweater round-up entry, but to answer the two most common questions: (1) yes, I will be writing up this pattern, and (2) yes, I am thrilled with the way the sweater came out!
WIth the Olympic sweater finished, I've got a rip-roaring case of startitis. I'm trying to be good, though. With sweater weather drawing to a close for the year, I still have two big sweaters on the needles I'd like to get done before it's springtime in Boston: Pam and Zippy. So they are first on my knitting to-do list.
Still, the urge start something new is strong. So I'm dealing with it by allowing myself to start only the smallest projects I can think of: socks. And the first step toward new socks is... new sock yarn! When I last saw Alison, I walked away from our visit with a bag of it!
The Regia on the left is Regia Cotton India Color in the Bombay colorway, which Alison kindly brought back for me from Germany. I love the browns and oranges, and the hint of blue will make them perfect jeans socks. Can't wait. I also nabbed the Regia Canadian colors (Manitoba) on the right and the black and white Lorna's Laces Sheperd Sock in the back when she pruned her sock yarn stash -- I got 'em for a song! I think I might finally make some Jaywalkers from the Lorna's.
A few days later I went hunting for some Sockapaloooza sock yarn. Having decided on the Conwy socks from Knitting on the Road, I thought I'd treat my pal right and use some Koigu. Since the sock in the book is knit up with a variegated yarn, I figured I could go crazy colorful. I definitely love this colorway, but the jury's still out on whether this colorway might be just a little too crazy colorful for cables.
This isn't new sock yarn, but I should still include it in my current sock round-up. This is the second of Jason's Christmas socks, which I insisted on re-knitting when I saw how big they were on him. After a two-and-a-half month post-Christmas break, I'm back on track with these.
I'll be home tomorrow night, so look for the Olympic sweater round-up this weekend!
March 8, 2006
I've been living out of a suitcase for three days, with two more to go. I moved to my second hotel of the trip last night, and was greeted there by my first (!) headcold of the winter. Sprinkle in extra-long days of work, and I'm pretty much wiped flat.
Even so, I couldn't resist a few cameraphone pictures of the now-finished Olympic sweater. That's right, it's finally done.
Real photos, along with a Mild Conceit Session, to come when I recover!
March 2, 2006
I love knitting, and I especially love baby girl knitting. But you can forgive me if I was less-than-overjoyed about this project, since it was the third deadline-knitting project I've worked on in the last week. (Score: two deadlines made [the sweater above and this one], one missed.) When I finished this little number I looked at Jason and said, "all I want to do is sit down and knit mindlessly on a sock for a while."
Lucky for me, I had materials on-hand. When we were in New York last weekend for a birthday celebration, I managed to carve out an hour to explore Knitty City. It's a small store, but well laid out and friendly so you don't feel squashed or unwelcome. (This is a nice contrast to the other yarn store on the UWS. If you know what I mean.) I was greeted but then left blissfully alone to browse and fondle yarn. Help was readily available to those who needed it, though. The owners are a married couple, and I watched him help a customer struggling with the swift and ball winder (they'll wind your yarn, or you can do it yourself!) and later listened to her gently guide a novice knitter to a better color combination without the customer even realizing how narrowly she'd escaped color disaster. They were quite a team.
The two non-sock yarn brands that stand out in my memory are Lily Chin and Cascade, but I spent most of my time in front of their sock yarn selection. There was ArtYarns Supermerino, lots of Regia (including some Nations!), Trekking, Opal, Cascade Fixation... the variety was quite good.
My need to touch all yarn under consideration for purchase is well documented, and I must say that when I grabbed a ball of Regia Silk Color I was blown away by how soft and smooth it was. Suddenly, two balls jumped into my basket -- all on their own, I swear! Two skeins of Supermerino in this colorway -- which I may use for my Sockapaloooza pal, all depending on finding a pattern -- leapt in right after them.
Speaking of Sockapaloooza, I haven't uttered a word about it since I signed up! I didn't totally neglect it during the Olympics, I promise. My pal has indicated that lace or cables would be good, and since my socks have heretofore been limited to plain stockinette or ribbing (if I'm feeling adventurous), I've invested in Nancy Bush's Knitting on the Road to broaden my horizons a bit.
But for now, just for today, I'll take my horizons just where they are thankyouverymuch. Me and my aching fingers are going to go round and round on a Regia Silk sock and not worry about deadlines or medals or shipping cutoffs for at least 24 hours.
See you on the flip side!
P.S. -- Have you seen the new Rowan magazine? I like it!
March 1, 2006
It's Wednesday, and I'm wondering:
What's the best way to do a turtleneck?
I've noticed that many patterns have you bind off some or all of a neckline, only to turn around and direct you to pick up stitches for the collar. Is there a good reason for this, or is it like when Rowan tells you to bind off and seam shoulders when 90% of the time a three-needle bind off is clearly the better option?
As you are all painfully aware, my Olympic sweater is a raglan knit from the bottom up, and I've left the stitches on holders while I debate how to proceed. Put all of the stiches on a circular needle, and knit the turtleneck in the round? Bind off and pick up? Another technique you can tell me about?